Lewis Hamilton said he’d defy the FIA‘s much-criticised ban on drivers making political statements, but also said it’d be ‘silly’ to take a sporting penalty for speaking out.
Hamilton was speaking as Mercedes launched their 2023 F1 car, the W14, in a ceremony at Brackley.
Over the offseason, the FIA banned drivers from making “political, religious and personal statements or comments” without getting written permission, and Hamilton was asked for his reaction to the new rules.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hamilton told selected media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “But nothing will stop me from speaking on the things that I’m passionate about and issues that there are.
“I feel the sport does have a responsibility, always, to speak out on things to create awareness and on important topics, particularly as we’re travelling to all these different places, and so nothing changes.”
Hamilton: Taking a penalty for speaking out is silly
Hamilton has been the most vocal driver of the current grid on social issues, he attended a Black Lives Matter protest following the murder of George Floyd and advocated for the arrest of the police who killed Breonna Taylor in a podium appearance.
However, he may have to throttle back on that now the FIA have brought in these new regulations, and he said there’s a limit to what he’d be willing to risk.
“I think it would be silly to say that I would want to take get penalty points for speaking out of things,” Hamilton added. “But I’m still going to be speaking my mind and as we still have this platform, there’s still a lot of things that we need to tackle.”
Hamilton supports Domenicali
Hamilton also spoke out in support of F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and how the Italian has worked to give the drivers room to express themselves.
F1 brought in the We Race as One initiative in 2020 and though it’s been controversial at times, Domenicali promised to defend his drivers against pressure from the FIA.
“The support of Stefano has been amazing,” Hamilton said. “I think all the drivers have been very much aligned on freedom of speech, I think we’re all aligned on that.”